Duking it out for charities

Sixteen Kelowna residents will step into the boxing ring in two weeks for their first time, after raising thousands of dollars for several local charities.

For the third year, members of the community with no boxing experience have spent three months training out of Kelowna's Madkatz Boxing, in preparation for their fight on July 7.

Throughout the training, each “three-round hero” has fundraised thousands of dollars, which will go towards three local charitable organizations.

This year, the money raised, expected to be about $20,000, will go to the Ozanam men's recovery house, the Karis Support Society women's shelter, and the Boys and Girls Club for at-risk youth.

“The funds that are being raised by this boxing event are going to go towards directly to help support men reconstruct their lives,” said Davin Overland, president of the board of directors at Ozanam.

“The need has probably never been greater, there are fatalities absolutely every day.”

While the money raised is going to three great causes, Geoff Lawrence, head coach and owner of Madkatz boxing, says he sees the three-round heroes grow through the process as well.

“When they come to this atmosphere, it is really intimidating,” he said. “As they develop the skills and they take that first punch in the face and they realize, 'holy cow I can do this,' their confidence rises, they walk a little taller, they talk a little tougher. It's pretty exciting to be a part of.”

The three months of training culminates in the main event on July 7 at Rutland Centennial Hall. In addition to the eight charity bouts, the second half of the card will feature eight competitive amateur boxing fights

“If you've never been to a boxing match, it's something that you will be amazed at how exciting it is,” Lawrence said. “It was described to me as one of the must-see events in Kelowna, so that was kind of flattering.”

Ticket information can be found on the event's Facebook page, or by reaching out to Lawrence at [email protected] or 250-859-1397.

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